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Network Automation with Python and Playbooks

New - Learn how to automate your network using Python and Playbooks.

No two networks are the same! Regardless, your network can be automated with a powerful combination of Python and Ansible across all major (and most minor) network vendors. Lessons and labs focus on using both Python and Ansible to interact with and configure your network devices. At the conclusion of this course, you will return to work empowered with skills necessary to automate network management! This class is a combination of live demonstrations and hands-on labs with virtual network devices and endpoints as targets for your configuration.

GK# 100605
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Is This The Right Course?

  • Recommended Prerequisite: Python Basics (5 days)
  • Coding experience in another language serves as an adequate prerequisite

Who Should Attend?

  • Network Administrators
  • Playbook devs / architects
  • Python devs
  • Administrators interested in Automation
  • Individuals interested in devops, specifically for networking

What You'll Learn

  • Version controlling code with Git
  • Open SSH sessions and pass commands to remote servers
  • Remotely open CLI to network devices
  • Move files via SFTP
  • Overview of Ansible modules
  • Ansible collections for network automation
  • Custom Ansible modules with Python
  • Best practices for automating the management and configuration of network devices

Course Outline

Day 01
Python Basics Review

  • Overview of Python and Ansible
  • Python whitespace rules & best practices
  • Conditional expressions
  • Relational and Boolean operators
  • Lists, Tuples, Dictionaries
  • Indexing and slicing
  • Built-in functions
  • Writing custom functions
  • Getting at methods
  • Iterating with Loops (for and while)
  • Working with files
  • Software Control Management (SCM) (Git, Github, Bitbucket, Cloudshare, etc.)
  • Getting at RESTful interfaces with Python
  • Working with JSON
  • Python, Ansible and Paramiko
  • Using Paramiko to SSH with keys and passwords

Day 02
Python and Network Automation

  • RESTful API review
  • API keys
  • Paramiko Review
  • Using Paramiko to SFTP with keys and passwords
  • Introduction to Netmiko (automating routers and switches)
  • Using Netmiko to send commands to / from network devices
  • Working with YAML
  • Converting JSON to YAML with Python


Day 03
Basic Ansible Review

  • Ansible keywords
  • YAML and JSON for data exchange
  • Ansible and YAML
  • Ansible Playbook components
  • Tying together Python and Ansible – Using Python within Ansible
  • Ansible Network Modules
  • What is new in Ansible (most current updates / release notes)
  • Network Agnostic modules
  • Writing network playbooks
  • Reviewing the construction of network playbooks
  • Writing Ansible playbooks that respond to network failures


Day 04
Blending Python and Ansible Skillsets

  • Review how to use Python within Ansible
  • Calling Python scripts with Ansible
  • Jinja2 Templating Engine for Python (and Ansible)
  • Using Templates in Ansible playbooks
  • Jinja2 filters, looping, and other useful tricks for automating with Ansible
  • Playbook tagging for selective runs
  • When to use Python and when to use Ansible
  • “Big Picture” options for using Python & Ansible within your Network
  • Ansible Roles
  • Extending Ansible to support Palo Alto (Optional - Case Study)
  • Extending Ansible to support Juniper vendor modules (Optional - Case Study)
  • Extending Ansible to support NAPALM (Optional - Case Study)

Day 05
Customizing Ansible with Python

  • Review – Running Scripts with Ansible
  • Prompting for Ansible user input
  • Ansible Galaxy & Getting at Roles
  • Writing a custom Ansible Module with Python
  • Ansible “Engine” vs Ansible “Tower” – marketing hype, capabilities, costs, etc.
  • Case Study: Automate your Enterprise Network
  • When to use Python and when to use Ansible
  • Writing your own Ansible modules in Python
  • “Big Picture” options for using Python & Ansible within your Network
  • Overview - NETCONF / YANG and what they mean for Python and Ansible
  • Molecule – Testing your roles

Labs Outline

  1. Using vim
  2. Using & Installing Python
  3. Making a Github account
  4. Data within mixed lists
  5. Understanding More about Lists
  6. Python Dictionaries
  7. Getting dir(obj) help() and pydoc
  8. Copying Files and Folders
  9. Moving and Renaming Files and Folders
  10. IPv4 Testing with if
  11. Paramiko - SSH with RSA Keys
  12. Paramiko - SFTP with UN and PW
  13. Space APIs the Final Frontier
  14. More APIs - Final Frontier is Vast
  15. Interaction with APIs - NASA 01
  16. Interaction with APIs - NASA 02
  17. Install GNS3
  18. Setup for GNS networking
  19. Configure the Switches
  20. Running Netmiko
  21. Running your first Playbook
  22. Debug Module
  23. Playbook Prompts
  24. Register and when
  25. EOS Get Config and Archive
  26. Agnostic Network Modules
  27. Network Playbook Error Handling
  28. Network Playbook Precheck
  29. Network Playbooks with Roles and Rollbacks
  30. Securing Playbooks with Vault
  31. Network Playbooks, Set Fact, and Fail
  32. Debug, Loops, and YAML Lists
  33. Running a script with Ansible
  34. Jinja Filters
  35. Ansible, Python Methods, and Jinja Filters
  36. Ansible and APIs
  37. Python and Ansible
  38. Writing an Ansible Module with Python
  39. AWX Tower
  40. Molecule – Testing Roles


  • Recommended Prerequisite: Python Basics (5 days)
  • Coding experience in another language serves as an adequate prerequisite

Follow-On Courses